gender
Definition - A system for allocating parts of speech to masculine, feminine, and neuter categories. For example, in English gender associates pronouns such as she with nouns like Diane

Etymology -
The word derives via Old French from the Latin genus, kind or gender. It was used to translate Aristotle's grammatical term genos. Note that Aristotle (in Rhetoric iii. v.) ascribed the formulation of concept of gender to Protagoras.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1380:
"Hire name, þat was femynyn Of gendre, heo turned in to masculyn."
(St. Theodora 109 in Horstm. Alteng. Leg. (1878) 36)

Quotation -
"In the Indo-European languages there were originally three genders, the masculine and feminine, to which respectively belonged the great majority of nouns denoting male and female persons or animals; and the neuter, including chiefly nouns denoting things without sex. …

In Semitic, and in the Romanic languages, there are only two genders, masculine and feminine. In many languages the adjectives, and in some languages the verbs, have inflexions depending on the gender of the nouns to which they syntactically refer.

Modern English has ‘natural’ as opposed to ‘grammatical’ gender; i.e. nouns are masculine, feminine or neuter according as the objects they denote are male, female, or of neither sex; and the gender of a noun has no other syntactical effect than that of determining the pronoun that must be used in referring to it.
(Source: OED s.v. gender)



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